Recently, the fine writers at You Been Blinded and Five Tool Tool have posted about how to increase traffic to your blog. I think that their ideas are very useful for bloggers, and I thank them for sharing. I wanted to push the topic a little further. For me, getting a lot of traffic for your blog is similar to wanting to have a lot of people visit your store if you're a small business owner. It's a worthy goal, especially when you're starting out your blog. But after you've been around for a little while, hits by themselves can be less rewarding. If your customers at, say, a bookstore are just sitting there reading books and not buying anything, who cares if you have 100 or 500 customers a day? Here's some other things to consider in your blogging. (Of course, if you just blog to have fun, ignore uptight, stuffy folk like myself and stop reading pronto).
* Goal of increasing comments. Without funny or insightful comments, my posts are not the same. I don't want one-time visitors; I want traffic that returns again and again. This is why Deadspin links may not actually be that great; Deadspin links to some 20? blogs a day, and if people are coming to you from deadspin, chances are they already are reading a ton of sports blogs. How are they going to fit you into that schedule? Ínstead, find people who will be loyal to your blog and comment again and again. Talk to your commenters, reward them (Best comment of the week contests, ala WL?), etc. I also wonder, on the really odd side of things; what if, once you write about Kobe, you go drop a post into the lakers forums and let fans know you're talking about their guy? Yes, it's playing with fire, but hey, if you want comments, you have to get a reaction out of people.
* Goal of increasing revenue. Many bloggers have some kind of "If you want to advertise, send me an e-mail" section. But I wonder; what if you would actually go after advertisers yourself? For example, if you post on geographic topics (i.e. Chicago sports), why not give a local sports bar or two a call? They might give you a try, if it costs 1/10th or 1/100th the price it would for a local paper. And what about other forms of revenue? If you take an interesting video of a sporting event and post it on revver.com, you get paid through revenue sharing. That's what the guys who did the Kobe video are doing (once they realized people wouldn't cough up $1.99), and they have 100,000 views.
* Goal of better blog content. There are people out there who are too busy to write their own blog. But they have interesting news facts and tidbits, or they are good at writing themselves and know how to improve your blog. If you can find some way to reward those people or let it be known that you want content from readers, you can tap into their skills. Also, a lot of times us writers are so busy trying to get EVERY LAST DETAIL AND JOKE out of a story because I MUST PROVE THAT I AM SO FUNNY OR SMART, that we don't give the reader anything to do. Like what I'm doing on this post, for example (hypocrite alert!). Leave some questions open on your blog for people to answer, don't tell all the jokes yourself, or just take the "Yes" side of an issue and invite commenters to write the "No" side for you. Deadspin does this nicely, and that's part of why it's so popular, in my opinion.
Do you think I'm right in saying we overemphasize traffic; or does traffic lead to these goals anyway? Note: see original post and comments at BallHype.
Oh, and Fan Friday brought to you by Dan; this may be the silliest Red Sox fan video yet.